Sailing on a family cruise has been at the top of our travel list for years now. We were so excited to make our first cruise together as a family with our host, Princess Cruises aboard the Crown Princess. This review features our own opinions.
I'm writing this from our mini suite aboard the Crown Princess! I'm so excited to share our vacation with you all and I plan to “live” share our days at sea via Instagram and Twitter if you want to follow along. Plus I'll be sharing each day's adventures for you via a new post each morning!
There was some planning involved to make our cruise carefree and relaxing.
But Princess Cruises makes that easy! I will be sharing that all once we are back on dry land because I've learned a whole bunch of tips to share, but it all started with what cruise to take!
We chose a California Coastal cruise as our family's first cruise together because it seemed like the perfect length, and because it was in close proximity to where we live. We will even be stopping in San Diego as one of the ports so we can play tourist in our home town.
We also love San Francisco, so that was a HUGE draw for us.
It's been over a month since we have been there last and we already planned what else we want to see and do while we were there. San Francisco is such a great family friendly town.
Before our adventure began we scheduled and planned through the Princess Personalizer Website. Then since we've been on board, we've been using Princess@Sea to stay in touch via their messenger app (that is free) so that I can monitor our account on board. I'm not sure if other cruise lines offer this, but when traveling with children (especially teens!), this has been a huge benefit. We can message each other to stay in touch, and the big kids have already been coming and going from teen and preteen clubs so using this to know where they are is giving me tons of peace of mind, which helps me to relax and enjoy the cruise even more.
After going through security and all that fun stuff, we walked into our rooms, and Emmy immediately ran out to the balcony and did this!
I love when I capture her moments of joy!
We have two side by side mini suites with rather large balconies on the Dolphin Deck. They were connected via the balconies after the Room Stewart removed the divider.
The mini suite rooms are large in comparison to the rooms that I remember being in as a teen when I last cruised. Emmy is staying with us, and Maddie and Ash are sharing the room next door. If it were just 4 of us, we would all be comfortable in just one room, albeit a bit cramped, so this works out perfectly for the 5 of us.
Princess Cruises surprised us with a fruit basket and chocolate covered strawberries in each room and champagne for Pete and me to toast each other as we sailed away. Neither of us drinks alcohol too often, so this was a treat.. and one I think we will be doing each cruise. If you have the extra budget to do this, I totally recommend it. Maybe even surprise your partner with it!
If you are traveling with kids, I think making this part of the trip extra special kinda sets the mood for the vacation and I would opt to do the fruit and strawberries for the girls again too!
After we had been out into open seas, we decided to explore the ship.
It's really big and one day in I have seen maybe ¼ of it. Our first stop yesterday was to the International Cafe for a snack. They have sandwiches, salads and desserts at no charge and Gelato for an additional fee of $1.50 for three generous scoops. We also bought a coffee card for specialty coffees. It's a hole punch card with eight drinks for $24 that you can use for future sailings if you don't use it all. We also bought the soda and more packages for each of us. For $49 we will be getting unlimited soda, juice, shakes, floats, hot chocolate, mocktails and more. For health reasons, we don't drink anything other than water normally, so this is another treat for us all. It works out to be $7 a day each, and that is a bargain when you think of how often you will be buying beverages. They have other alcohol packages too, and the wine ones get rave reviews! Our drink packages came with tumblers that we can all take home as souvenirs too!
The ship is stunning, and I am really enjoying looking at all the little things they have done to make it so beautiful.
The Easter decorations are amazing, and the details are totally “wowing” me!
We didn't plan it this way, but we ended up sailing on Easter! Yesterday when we boarded we were not sure what would be happening, or if there were any Easter celebrations planned. I was so happy to hear that there are quite a few things in store for us over the next couple days to make Easter extra fun for the kids.
Emmy hasn't stopped reminding us that there are pools on this ship, so we set off to find them. We chose the pool on the Lido deck under the big screen used for MUTS (Movies Under The Stars) for our first swim. The pool is warm, and we relax for a while until the sun started to set. Then we made our way out of the pool and back to the room to get ready for dinner.
We have anytime dining and have worked up quite the appetite, so we decide to eat in the Michelangelo Dining Room.
There is a bit of a wait, and we learned that it is best to make reservations if you have the anytime dining. You can do this each morning at 8 am by phoning the reservation line. While we waited to eat, Pete and the girls have some fruit and Gelato, and I stayed in line.
It was worth the wait! The fettuccine alfredo was delicious. Emmy, all of a sudden, went quiet, and we looked over and saw this! She has a history of falling asleep at the table on vacations, so this wasn't surprising… and this is how we know she is having a really good time! She goes all out during the day and crashes at night!
We decided to have dessert via room service so she could sleep some more, while Maddie and Ash went to the kids clubs until they closed at 10 pm and 11 pm respectfully. I have so much more to say about the kids clubs… but let me start by sharing that they are worth the trip alone. The kids are all having so much fun in them!
Have you ever been on a cruise? What was your favorite part?
PS. See our complete Crown Princess, Princess Cruises Review and Detailed Daily Posts Here.